Drug-resistant TB epidemic

Neel R. Gandhi

Neel R. Gandhi (epidemiology, global health) has published a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, providing compelling evidence that person-to-person transmission, not just inadequate treatment, is driving the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) in South Africa, mostly among persons dually infected with HIV. The study builds on a growing body of evidence about the spread of XDR TB through person-to-person contact and has important implications for efforts to prevent the disease, which have traditionally focused on ensuring that patients receive accurate and complete TB treatment.

Del Rio takes on new role at Grady

Carlos del Rio

Carlos del Rio, Hubert Professor and Chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health, has been appointed the interim executive associate dean for clinical affairs for the Grady campus. In his new part-time role, Carlos will serve as the primary liaison between the Emory School of Medicine and the Grady Health System, responsible for the strategic vision and direction for Emory’s clinical, research, and teaching programs at Grady.

Deborah McFarland

Deborah McFarland (global health, health policy and management) will receive the 2017 Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) Teaching Excellence Award at the annual ASPPH meeting in March. This award is given to graduate public health faculty who are noted for their excellence in teaching, research, and mentorship.

Bethany Caruso 09MPH 15PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in environmental health who holds a Fellowship in Research and Science Teaching (FIRST) position, was one of five recipients of the Young Investigator Award at the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The goal of the award is “to recognize the work of young Investigators and to encourage developing scientists to pursue careers in various aspects of tropical disease research.”

Hao Wu (biostatistics and bioinformatics) was recently awarded membership to the Woodruff Health Sciences Millipub Club. The club honors current Emory faculty who have published one or more individual papers that have each garnered more than 1,000 citations. Such a paper is commonly considered a “citation classic” and represents high-impact scholarship.

Mark Hutcheson received the 2016 International Outreach Award, which recognizes Emory staff who have made significant contributions to the internationalization of the university as well as to international professional networks in their fields. Mark is managing director of the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center, where he oversees all research and training activities. He has played a key role in developing partnerships with leading health research institutions in India and Pakistan, the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia, and collaborators in Malawi and Denmark.

Gery Guy 06MPH received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Aaron Marshall 18MPH (global health) has won the Civilian of the Year award from Team Rubicon. Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. The award is given annually to the civilian volunteer who best displayed a passion for bettering Team Rubicon through service. Aaron is a Type II Wildland firefighter and EMT and works in Atlanta providing medical care to at-risk urban populations as well as performing training in emergency response and recovery.


February 17: RSPH Grand Rounds. Carmen Marsit, professor of environmental health, will discuss “Molecular Mechanisms Linking the Environment to Human Health.” 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Claudia Nance Rollins Auditorium

March 10: : The film Thirst, about the globalization and privatization of water supplies, will be aired as part of the 2017 Emory Water Film Series. There will be refreshments and a closing panel discussion by the Center for Global Safe WASH. 5:30 p.m., Claudia Nance Rollins Building, Room 1000

April 10: : Donna J. Brogan Lecture in Biostatistics, Marie Davidian, professor of statistics at North Carolina State University, will discuss "The Right Treatment for the Right Patient (at the Right Time): Precision Medicine Through Treatment Regimes and SMARTs." 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Lawrence P. and Anne Estes Klamon Room

*View all Rollins events on the online calendar.


Strength in uncertain times

The continuing uncertainty surrounding the recent executive order restricting immigration to the U.S. from specific countries is hitting close to home. I know many of you have felt the uncertainty in your homes, classrooms, and laboratories. We are concerned about the implications and reach of the policy shift.

In her recent message, President Claire Sterk articulated our collective concerns to the Emory community, affirming that, “Serving humanity is at the heart of our mission.” Our school resolutely shares in the university’s commitment to protect the rights of students, staff, and faculty. Emory’s mission states that its community is open to all who meet its high standards.

The Rollins community represents a worldwide family which highly values inclusivity. Our diversity is crucial to the advancement of our core missions of teaching, research, and service. We will resist any actions that divide our community or undercut our capacity for contributing to the improvement of global health and well-being.

Our vital work in improving health here and around the world persists in spite of obstacles. I encourage you to have hope and continue to advocate for global public health research and education.

Farewell to a founding father

Thomas F. Sellers, Jr., center, with Jim Johnson MPH/MD, a Thomas F. Sellers, Jr., Scholarship recipient, left, and son Wade Sellers, right.

It is with great sadness that I announce the loss of Thomas F. Sellers Jr. He died in January surrounded by family and friends. Tom was instrumental in the founding of our school. In the 1980s, when he was chairman of the Department of Community Health in the school of medicine, Tom championed the establishment of Emory’s community health program, which eventually grew into the Rollins School of Public Health. On his retirement, his colleagues and friends joined together to honor that effort with an endowed scholarship in his name.

Tom taught infectious disease medicine and preventive medicine at Emory for more than 30 years. He recounted his medical days in his 2009 book, What's Up Doc: A Lifetime in Medicine:1946-1990. He also published a collection of his poetry, Beware the Poet, in 2015.

Tom had public health in his bloodline. His father was a public health leader in Georgia for 42 years and the inventor of a tool for diagnosing rabies. His son, Wade, graduated from Rollins in 1990. A physician, Wade is also a major public health leader in Georgia.

A celebration of the life of Tom Sellers Jr., will be held at Peachtree Presbyterian Church at 10:00 a.m. on February 18. Online condolences can be expressed at csog.com.

The family has requested that gifts in memory of Tom be made to the Thomas F. Sellers Jr. MD Scholarship Fund at the Rollins School of Public Health. Online gifts may be made by going to emory.edu/give.

In many ways, our school owes its existence to Tom Sellers, and we will miss him greatly.

New director of strategic communications

Myra Oviatt

Please join me in welcoming Myra Oviatt, who came on board in January as our new director of strategic communications. She brings 18 years of experience in brand and communications strategy, market research, strategic marketing, employee engagement, executive communications, and digital content strategy.

Situated in the Office of the Dean, Oviatt is Rollins’ lead for planning, developing, and implementing unified marketing and communication strategies in support of admissions and student affairs, academic programs, faculty and research, development, and alumni relations. Her current focus is on building relationships and collaborating with campus partners to lay the groundwork for future efforts in enhancing Rollins’ image and reputation locally, nationally, and globally.

Oviatt comes to Rollins after six years at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Most recently, she supported Georgia Tech’s chief human resources officer and the school’s 18,000 employees through internal communications initiatives. Prior to that, she worked for Georgia Tech Professional Education on strategic marketing and communications for online degrees, massive open online courses, short courses, and certificate programs.

Oviatt is a native Atlantan who holds a BA in journalism and public relations from the University of Georgia.

Grand Challenges Exploration winner

Kristin Wall

Kristin Wall (epidemiology) received a Grand Challenges Exploration award, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiative that supports innovative thinkers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how persistent global health and development challenges are solved. Wall and her team plan to develop and pilot-test a multi-level intervention in Rwanda to improve post-partum IUD services to help improve maternal and newborn health, reduce unintended pregnancy and abortion, and control birth spacing.

New grants

Jeffrey Koplan, Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Network, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $14.6 million

Thomas Clasen, Household Air Pollution and Health: A Multi-country LPG Intervention Trial, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, $6.2 million

Benjamin Druss, Engaging Patients with Mental Disorders from Emergency Departments into Outpatient Care, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, $5.8 million

Scott McNabb, MPH Agreement with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, $4 million

Christine Moe, SaniPath-Typhoid and Environmental Surveillance Strategy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $3.3 million

Jeffrey Koplan, Advancing National Public Health Institutes Globally, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $2.7 million

Dabney Evans, E-TRAIN Emergency Training for Response and Improved Nutrition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $950,000

Saad Omer, A Comprehensive Pre-Natal Intervention to Increase Vaccine Coverage, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, $770,000

Tene Lewis, Expectations of Discrimination and CVD Risk in African-American Women, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, $760,000

Saad Omer, Impact of Eliminating Nonmedical Exemptions in California, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, $740,000

Rollins faculty have received many other grants for research and training between Sept. 1 and Feb. 1.View the complete list.

Appointments and promotions

Faculty promotions
  • Dawn L. Comeau, Associate Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Limin Peng, Professor, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Hao Wu, Associate Professor, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Karen Levy, Associate Professor, Environmental Health

  • Lauren Christiansen-Lindquist, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology

New faculty

  • James Lavery, Conrad N. Hilton Chair in Global Health Ethics

  • Shivani Patel, Assistant Professor, Global Health

  • Shakira Suglia, Associate Professor, Epidemiology

Post-doctoral fellows

  • Christoper N. Ford, Global Health

  • Guannan Geng, Environmental Health

  • Axel Poulet, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Zhiping Qiu, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Jeticia R. Sistrunk, Environmental Health

  • Caroline Um, Epidemiology

Staff promotions

  • Amy Lovvorn, Research Projects Manager, Environmental Health

  • Qin Hui, Data Analyst, Epidemiology

  • Danielle N. Lambert, Data Analyst, Epidemiology

  • Neena Smith-Bankhead, Program Assistant Director, Epidemiology

  • Vanda Palmer Hudson, Fulfillment Services Director, Fulfillment Services

  • Marisa Gallegos, Senior Public Health Program Associate, Global Health

  • Habib Yakubu, Senior Public Health Program Associate, Global Health

  • Adriana Gibby, Research Projects Manager, Global Health Institute

  • Stephanie Tapscott, Research Projects Manager, Health Policy and Management

  • Belinda K. Maaskant, Information Technology Senior Manager, Information Services

  • Sean Lawrence McGrath, Client Services Technical Lead, Information Services

  • Velma Sanders, Lead Operating System Analyst/Developer, Information Services

  • Rosemary Bifusina Tufon, Senior Database Administrator, Information Services

New staff

  • Maryam Ahman, Data Analyst, Epidemiology

  • Kia D. Albers, Post Award II Research Administrator, Research Administration

  • Jennifer C. Anderson, Senior Program Coordinator, Global Health

  • Danielle Broadnax, Public Health Program Associate, Epidemiology

  • Amber Burt, Research Projects Manager, Environmental Health

  • Katherine Carey, Post Award II Research Administrator, Research Administration

  • J’Neka Claxton, Public Health Program Associate, Epidemiology

  • Danielle M. Crookes, Public Health Program Associate, Epidemiology

  • Laura Donnelly, Research Projects Associate Director, Epidemiology

  • Tiffany N. Ervin, Senior Quality Control Editor, Epidemiology

  • Shaina Felicie, Senior Research Interviewer, Epidemiology

  • Bridgett Mercedes Figueroa, Administrative Assistant, Global Health

  • Mischka Garel, Programs Senior Associate Director, Global Health Institute

  • Savannah D. Gupton, Research Specialist, Global Health

  • Steven A. Harris, Administrative Assistant, Epidemiology

  • Michael Heard, Research Interviewer, Global Health

  • Estefani Ignacio Gallegos, Senior Research Interviewer, Environmental Health

  • Regina Jarrett, Administrative Assistant, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Derek Jobe, Research Project Coordination Supervisor, Global Health

  • Marxavian Jones, Senior Research Interviewer, Global Health

  • Bryan Katz, Public Health Program Associates, Health Policy and Management

  • Olivia Manders, Senior Research Administration Coordinator, Global Health

  • Jessica L. Martinez, Pre-Award I Research Administrator, Research Administration

  • Courtnee Matthews, Office Assistant, Fulfillment Services

  • Hilary Merlin, Program Developer, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Jennifer Patil, Business Analyst I, Student Services

  • Saiya K. Sheth, Public Health Program Associate, Epidemiology

  • Natasha Simpson, Student Academic Services Administrator, Student Services

  • Harlan J. Smith, Clinical Research Interviewer II, Epidemiology

  • Jenna Swarthout, Public Health Program Associate, Environmental Health

  • Ebunoluwa Oladayo Thorpe, Pre-Award I Research Administrator, Research Administration

  • Stormm Van Rool, Program Coordinator, Global Health Institute

  • Candy Wakwe, Clinical Research Coordinator III, Epidemiology

  • Megan Warnock, Biostatistician, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Taylor Wimbly, Public Health Program Associate, Epidemiology

  • Catherine Witherspoon, Communications Coordinator, Global Health Institute

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